View from my roof


This NYE I won’t be climbing on the roof to watch fireworks, as there aren’t really any to speak of in my area. So I climbed up a day early to investigate the cause of a small leak in our ceiling. Turns out it’s yet another example of bodgy work left by previous owners and/or tradesmen.


I’m considering removing the solar heating anyway as I’ve not switched on the pump for it in months, the hosing is obviously catching leaves and detritus, and the pool is quite swimmable anyway on a warm day (I noticed no difference switching off the heating).

I’m much keener of the idea of rigging it so that the waste heat from the A/C goes towards heating the pool instead. This is such a stupendously obvious idea that I’m surprised it was so hard to find any decent example of it being offered for home use, and even now I’ve so far only found one company that does it: Hotspot Energy. It may be a little complicated with piping and such, but could it be any worse than nailing hundreds of meters of black rubber tubing to your roof? Not only that but a heat exchange between house and pool stands to vastly reduce the energy consumption that goes into cooling, even if you don’t give a crap what temperature your pool is.

A Very Trivial Frustration

I buy Coles UHT milk all the time, because it keeps on the shelf and is cheaper to buy than pre-chilled milk. But I don’t see why that means that this has to happen every damn time I try to open it.

Reasonable Faith

I sympathize hugely with Kate Smurthwaite here as she tries to respond patiently to the perennial assertion that to be an atheist is to have faith in the non-existence of God.

The amusing/depressing arrogance of this assertion is that it usually comes from a person who believes in exactly one god, specifically the god of the religion into which they were born.

It does not occur to the well-meaning but supremely patronizing nun to accuse Kate of faith in the non-existence of Krishna, Buddha, Xenu, Zeus etc, because of course those gods aren’t real!

Why is it so hard for the religious to understand that it requires no more faith to not believe in a god than it does to not believe in Santa Claus, or Russell’s teapot?

Perhaps the nun finds her faith comforting and even useful. Perhaps it gives her order a common sense of purpose, enabling them to more effectively help the needy. Even if this is the case, that doesn’t make the belief true any more than a person’s superstitious need to avoid stepping on a crack does anything to protect their mother’s spine.

If it gets you through the day, and helps you sleep at night, believe what you want– but it’s such bullshit to argue that because the existence of God can neither be proved nor disproved then somehow an equivalence can be drawn between belief and non-belief.

TL;DR: If atheism is a religion then not collecting stamps is a hobby.*


* This analogy has been around longer than I have, but it works just fine. What I don’t understand is why people can’t just say “oh I get it!” and go about their faith-ly ways, instead of holding fast to the ‘just another religion’ critique for no palpable gain (except to irritate the ungodly). Don’t be this guy.



We had a new scan today, and all systems are nominal.


Also, awwwwwwwwww she is SO ADORABLE!

(and I may be imagining it but I feel like I am seeing parental resemblances already)

Water beads = tactile fun!

Only discovered these things recently, and they are super fun to play with…


Those tiny plastic beads swell to marble size (about 400 times their original volume) when soaked in water for half a day. One small packet (about a heaped teaspoon) makes about 2 litres of squishy, bouncy, permanently wet spheres. I recommend filling a container with them and sticking your hand in, they feel just awesome and weird. If you leave them for a while they start to shrink (as water evaporates from their surface) but then just immerse them again and they expand once more. While intact they are quite strong and can be squeezed and even bounced, but score one with a fingernail and it will split apart instantly.

I am officially boring

It’s been a month since my last post, and I really don’t have much worth writing about, even though life has been very busy and quite exciting in that adult way that is of very little interest to other people. My attention is focused on the things that are immediately relevant to me, such as impending parenthood, financial stability and pool maintenance.

I’ve been working more or less full time for most of the year now, and although that may partially explain the infrequency of my posts, the fact is that I took last week off and not once did it occur to me that there was anything I wanted to blog about. I seem to be fully, happily domesticated right now, and such a state is simply not conducive to creative output.

Below are some thoughts I have had recently, which a different me might have written about enthusiastically at some point.

  • Breaking Bad was awesome.
  • Tony Abbott, newly elected Australian PM, is a total cock. I wish the fresh expenses scandal could damage him enough to allow a less batshit crazy conservative like Malcolm Turnbull to take over the leadership.
  • Global warming is a real thing, nothing substantial is being done to address it, and so I have to be more concerned about the risk of bushfires in my neighborhood.
  • When it comes to armchairs, comfort trumps style. We recently bought a recliner after I scoffed at it for being a daggy grandpa chair (only to then sit in it and go ‘Ahhhhhhhhhh!’)
  • I cook a lot now (5 nights a week) and I don’t mind it at all. Also I like to keep the kitchen tidy (this is not the me of 6 months ago).
  • I find myself browsing used station wagons online with a mind to replacing my small car. Maybe a diesel.
  • I find iOS 7 largely fine but the spindly fonts are a little annoying. It seems like forever since I installed any apps, and as of this moment I can’t even remember if my Apple developer membership is still current.
  • I will never be able to grow a proper beard.
  • Everyone is having babies!
  • I should probably get a builder to give me a quote on repairing or replacing our dilapidated wooden pool deck.
  • I am not really doing anything very interesting with my time, and I’m surprisingly ok with this.

I am not saying this blog is dead, but it is quite sleepy right now.

Your quiet place

I posted this a few years back, and now I’m posting it again, because it is just so beautifully done.


IMG_20130904_1_23 IMG_20130904_1_32

It moves! Holy crap!

Also, modern imaging technology is an incredible thing. More like this.



For the first time ever I have a proper place to put my (mostly cheap and crappy) tools. Although I’m not going to get so carried away as to paint outlines of the tools on the board. Probably not.

Latent Earworm

Woke up this morning after a frankly terrible weekend in which I hurt my back in the most pointless way possible*, and had this Hall and Oates song stuck in my head, along with visions of people prancing down a street. It was a relief to finally work out where it originated; this awesome clip from a few years back which obviously lodged itself in my subconscious:

* I managed to injure myself while demonstrating the awesome power of suction cups to stick together, and of course they did not stick together quite as well as I was so certain they would, resulting in me falling backwards and getting a very nasty lower back strain. Only today am I able to rise from a chair again without grunting and doing weird contortions as I do so. I was even able to put shoes on without any assistance!

Condensed rants, mostly internet related

Hey Skype, you stupid piece of crap, how about not making your interface and feature set totally different for every platform, and how about recognising that people might actually need to use you across multiple platforms, and may not want to be notified of the 17 messages and calls they made from their iPhone last week as though they were new. And even if I had 17 actually new messages, do I really need to hear your irritating notification sound 17 times within a few seconds? You suck!

Hey Apple, mostly I still like you, but the correct response to  “I don’t want an iCloud email address” is “Click here to disable it”, not “Oh just don’t check it then”. YOU ARE BAD AT CLOUD. Also, I can’t think of a better use for my old iPhone than to use it as an Airplay receiver, but you’ve decided to make this feature off limits. Oh yeah and your position on not letting people turn off the start-up chime on the Mac is incredibly obnoxious, since most of my restarts occur in the wee small hours. All in all, NOT COOL!

Hey TPG, you bozo, you’re an internet service provider, so really it seems like you should be pretty good in the whole area of communications. How come to transfer my old internet account to my neighbour when I moved out was harder than organising a goddamn bank loan, and involved double-signed paperwork that you promptly managed to misplace and screw the whole process up? Also your account page was always a goddamn piece of crap with the worst presentation of usage stats I’ve seen. And you might want to look up these new fangled internet things called “cookies” – they’re really useful for not wasting your customers’ time by making them log in every time they visit your site. Good riddance, shit-for-brains!

Hey Telstra, at least TPG has an excuse for sucking, in that they have shit for brains. Whereas you are just a giant asshole, charging me $70 a month for my phone and then having the nerve to SMS spam me with demographically insulting offers of great deals on concert tickets. And so kind of you to provide a number for me to call in order to opt out of your obnoxious affiliate promotions (yet no SMS reply allowed for some reason), but how about not opting in your paying customers in the first place, pricks!

Hey Microsoft Team Foundation Server… I would really like back the several hours a month you steal from me by being the most heaping pile of shit (“enterprise software”) that I’ve ever been forced to use. You ruin everything, and I hate you. Git is user-friendly compared to you, you bloated, incontinent crap-sack.

Hey Windows, you already know that you suck, but just know that I know it too. I was almost nostalgic for you after using a Mac for so long, but when I actually had to start using you on a regular basis again I suddenly remembered just how repellent you are.

I feel much better now.




We have all our stuff in the house now, although much of it still in piles and boxes of course, and it’s feeling like home. We finally have ADSL, a couple of days late thanks to some confusion over a second phone line we have which I didn’t know about until today.


Above is the view of the ocean over the neighbour’s roof. It’s very private, as we have large windows that no one is looking into (I’m always conscious of the fishbowl effect of large windows in a house). The view out the back is not so bad either…


As expected, I am really loving being Mr Fixit Guy around the place, with every tweak making something a little more functional. In fact I just fixed a towel rail while waiting for the latest Visual Studio service pack to install! Next on the list is that wonky Hills Hoist, and the wooden fencing around the pool deck which you really don’t want to be leaning against right now.

The only notable thing still not sorted out now is TV reception, as even though we have a giant antenna mast with various spiky doodads attached we simply can’t get any signal from it. So we’re having someone to come out and check that tomorrow– I’m not foolish enough to attempt to solve that one on my own, preferring to settle in a bit before I go falling off the roof attempting some kind of DIY.

PS My favorite tool right now is a cordless (electric) screwdriver, something I always thought was a waste of money since I already have a good cordless drill… but man was I wrong. These things are great, with their compact size and quick-release bits.

UPDATE: TV is sorted, yay. But now the dishwasher is buggered, boo. It’s stopped heating the water, after just a week of us using it. Pretty bummed out by that. Reading up on the model (SB907) it’s likely a common and easily fixed problem (pretty sure it’s already been fixed at least once before), but then the model is not exactly highly regarded, so we might have to spring for a replacement. Grrr.

UPDATE 2: After reading about a common fault in this model I decided to have a crack at repairing it myself and was quite surprised that it actually worked (being the first time I’ve used a soldering iron in at least 20 years). I guess the component just didn’t line up well enough with the copper trace on the PCB during manufacture. Still thinking of getting a new machine anyway as this one’s not great– doesn’t dry well and doesn’t do a good job with pots and pans. This LG model sounds like a good one.